The purpose does not necessarily have to tend to change the world or find a cure for diseases; it can be just doing what makes sense and working to help others or to contribute to the community at large. In Japanese, the word Ikigai describes a reason for being, or a reason to get up in the morning; one woman expressed her ikigai as “the need and desire to make soup for her family.”
For both individuals and organizations, purpose is important.
A study conducted at Harvard revealed that 52% of purpose-driven companies experienced growth greater than 10%, 66% achieved further global expansion, 56% had more product launches, and 52% achieved success in their endeavors of transformation.
At work, purpose also pays off: when companies have a stronger sense of purpose, their employees say their work is more meaningful, and when leaders demonstrate a clear purpose-vision, commitment to stakeholders, and strong morale – their employees were happier and more productive.
Other Harvard studies have shown that while executives say purpose is the key to accelerating their growth and deepening their impact, both professionally and personally, less than 20% have a strong sense of purpose. individual and there are fewer who can encrypt it in a specific statement.
When the study participants were asked to describe their personal purpose, they expressed generic and unclear statements about how they will be able to put their purpose into action.
Articulating a purpose and finding the courage to live it is what scholars call “purpose to impact,” which is the single most important developmental task a leader can undertake.
We all want to participate in great projects that involve others; therefore, alignment is essential. For example: serving coffee in a restaurant gives people the opportunity to come together in conversation and community. The accounting clerk who processes payments at a university contributes to student learning and paves the way for them to achieve their goals.
Companies that can develop a strong purpose, but also help people see how they contribute to it, will reap the greatest rewards in terms of employees who put in discretionary effort and wake up energized each day.
A strong purpose can also help people choose and clarify their investments of time and effort, and individuals and companies make decisions that ensure the best match between values, talents, and contributions.